Monday, February 22, 2010

Hey Pablo! You're Looking... Fit?

The Giants prescribed a new nutrition and fitness regimen for the Panda this off-season. The result? Well, I guess he's less fat-ish.

Pablo Sandoval is a burgeoning superstar and one of the young cornerstones of the SF franchise. He also likes to eat--a lot. So when the Giants created an off-season diet and fitness regimen, affectionately referred to as "Operation Panda", some folks were skeptical. Well Panda showed up to Spring Training for this week and the reviews are, well, mixed:
"...trainer Dave Groeschner said Sandoval has made strides since the start of a diet-and-exercise program dubbed "Operation Panda," Groeschner confirmed what is obvious to anyone who looks at the 23-year-old infielder: Sandoval has not reached his desired weight, believed to be 250 pounds.

Sandoval reportedly dropped 12 pounds during an intensive training session here in November. He then went to Venezuela to play winter ball. Upon his return, he said he regained only one pound during the trip and ate healthier - but his progress stalled."

So yeah, Operation Panda was an embarrassing failure. But at least he looks better than he did at the Giants Halloween party*:

*May not actually be Pablo Sandoval

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Song From the New Nike Commercial

You've probably heard this song on the new Nike commercial. I enjoyed it enough to post the thing in its entirety. The song is "Ali in the jungle" by The Hours. Good tune, though I wish they ripped a little more coming out of the first refrain.

Does ACC Basketball Suck? Why Yes It Does!

Dated? Yes. Inappropriate? Meh, maybe. Accurate? F'n eh right it is.

Let's break this down. The best team in the league, Duke, got KILLED by the arguably the 4th best team (7th in the standings) in the Big East in Georgetown. That same Duke team also lost to William & Mary early in the season and at North Carolina State, the worst team in the ACC.

The next best team by overall record, Va Tech, got worked by Temple at home and got destroyed by a terrible North Carolina team.

Maryland, probably the second best team in the ACC, lost at home to William & Mary and lost to a Cincinnati team that is probably the 9th best team in the Big East (a team that was playing much worse earlier in the season than they are now).

And finally, Wake, probably the last team in the ACC with a shot to do anything in the tournament, also lost to William and Mary (how f'n good is that team this year?), got killed by NC State and was just plain not competitive against Duke.

Other than maybe Duke's win over a bad UConn team, Clemson's win over Butler and Florida State's win over Marquette, what big wins does that conference have? None.

Normally this conference is Duke, UNC, MD/GT/WF and everyone else. This year it's Duke(?) and a whole bunch of chicken and feces sandwiches sans chicken. I like this year.

Tiger: What we (fans) are "owed"

I wanted a blanket apology out of Tiger not because I was entitled but because Tiger is a person and that's what people do.

Before I get into the meat, a quick aside:

Oh Tigre, you and your whorish ways. I've known a man-whore or two in my day but good gravy man, you REALLY lika da women, eh? I'm glad you've found the help you need in your pseudo-therapeutic southern hovel. Back in the olden days (or modern Saudi Arabia) they sent whores to death or fastened giant letters to their lapels. Today we send our high-priced whores to Alabama and prescribe bunkbeds and long chats about our feelings with strangers. Now don't get me wrong, I do believe sex addiction is real (if you don't believe it, check out this account via a Deadspin commenter. That shit is real, and painful.) I just don't believe Tigre is an addict. The guy is in need of therapy and perhaps an intervention but only to get rid of the people in charge of controlling his every move. He's a fucking robot mess. That press conference sounded exactly like the one R2-D2 gave after he got caught jamming his tool probe in C3PO's exhaust valve. Digression...

Anyhoo, the media has taken an interesting tact with respect to Tiger's actions. Many (maybe even most) have asked, "Why is Tiger apologizing to us? He doesn't owe us anything." In fact, if you do a search on Google News for "Tiger 'doesn't owe'" you get about 12000 articles. And many of the "he doesn't owe us" crowd have intimated that we, Joe Fan, feel entitled to the apology and it is us who is not "owed" this apology. Well sirs, to that I say go fuck yourself.

Let's get away from the fact that the best golfer in the world isn't golfing right now and his hiatus is indefinite, so as a pure sports story we as sports fans really want to know what's going on. If Dustin Pedroia wasn't in the lineup for the month of April and then showed up in early May, I think someone would probably expect him to explain what the hell happened. And if the absence was because of his own "bad act" (or say because he slept with a dozen hookers) then we'd probably expect him to be sorry that his actions took him away from the game. But be that as it may, I don't feel I am "owed" anything. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that none of us who expected to hear an apology from Tiger have been standing outside his door with our front foot tapping impatiently waiting for him to come out and bow his head apologetically to atone for his indiscretions. I never felt hurt or betrayed so I don't feel entitled to an apology. But I did expect one and would have thought it absurd had he not.

The reason is not because of my passion for sports but because Tiger Woods is a very public sports figure who had a very public fuck up. A fuck up so great that he had to take a lengthy hiatus from his sport and no one knows when he will return. In these situations the rules of our society for public figures require that you stand up in front of a camera and say that what you did was stupid. That's how it works. I didn't make the rules and I didn't sign a contract with the PGA requiring all philanderers apologize after they get caught. History has shown me how this works so now I expect it. It's not a matter of his responsibility to me as much as it is his responsibility in general. That's it. End of story.

What I find most troubling about the media slant is that many a sports talk person uses this example to suggests that we should merely like the athlete for their accomplishments because most of them are dirtbags, so if we really knew them we would be disappointed. I'm sure they're right. But the idea that most people can simply separate the personality of the player from their accomplishments is pretty naive. For most people, their favorite player is not only good but he contributes to charity and he is scrappy or hustles or has magical leadership intangibles despite clear defensive flaws or he just looks like he's having so much fun out there. You don't love the back of the baseball card you love the whole package. Bert Favor wouldn't be old Bert if he answered questions in monotone staccato and frowned like Eli Manning on the field. Tim Duncan is arguably the greatest Power Forward in history but because he's got the personality of a lima bean no one likes him (WE HEAR even Tim Duncan's mom thinks he's about as exciting as chamomile tea--Pro Football Talk'd!). I'm sorry but with sports stars you can't separate the personality from performance.

What is also amusing to me is that these same sports folk who call out the fan for our inability to separate personality from performance CANNOT themselves separate the person from their accomplishments. Just look at the baseball Hall of Fame vote. Jim Rice waited 15 years to get into the Hall because he acted like a dick for 10 years. Michael Kay tells me that most baseball players are bad guys so we should only respect what they do on the field but he hates Mike Mussina and can't possibly speak about him objectively because of a few bad locker room experiences and he won't say a bad word about A-Rod because A-Rod sent flowers to his mom's funeral. So don't you fucking dare lecture me about separating the person from the sport bucko.

But rather than dwell on media hypocrisy, let's take the next step of the media take and agree that he doesn't need to apologize. So let me get this straight, you knuckleheads would prefer he just show up to the FBR next weekend, sign in and head out for a practice round? Yes, I'm sure no one would say shit about that. There's not enough indignation available on earth to fuel the columns that would be written in that scenario (we'd have to send a space ship to Pandora to mine for "indignation" after they scrape up the last of the unobtanium). Headlines in the papers (they still make those things, right?) would read, "HE OWES US AN EXPLANATION!" And you know who the "us" is in that scenario, THE FUCKING SPORTS MEDIA. Not me. Not you. The person most interested in hearing an apology and explanation is the person responsible for writing the column or creating the buzz on the radio or whatever f'n platform they have.

Now don't get me wrong, if Tigre just flat-out ignored society's requirement that he apologize for all of this then I'd be taken aback as a sports fan. But again, my surprise wouldn't be because I feel entitled to hear from him as much as I'm just surprised that he thinks he can get away from this shitstorm without an explanation. That may be semantics to some but it's a big difference to me.

So please don't tell me I'm not "owed" an apology when I never said I was entitled to one. All I ask is that Tigre play by the same rules as everyone else who's fucked up. Oh, and Tigre, while you're up there, I wouldn't mind hearing about those threeways.

The Smittblog's Back...?

Trust me fella, no one's as shocked as I am

Well here we go again. Without getting too deeply into the fray of what's occurred over the almost two years since I stopped writing here, I'll simply say that it's been a long hiatus but I think I've found away to get back to writing at least a couple times a week. I'm not sure how good it'll be (not that it was good the first time) or how long it'll last but I'm givin er a go. Without further ado, blog words...